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Crypto Locker Virus Locks Down Critical Files, Demands Ransom

Crypto Locker Virus Locks Down Critical Files, Demands Ransom

The Crypto Locker virus is being called one of the strongest and most devastating computer viruses in history, and it strikes by literally holding computer owners hostage.

The virus infects computers through a legitimate looking email, usually from a reputable company like FedEx or UPS. Once opened, the virus quickly spreads to the computer’s hard drive and then offers the user a chance to rid the program — for a hefty fee.

“Ransomware causes your computer files to be non-accessible and when that happens you have two choices. You can recover if you have a backup which I hope you do or pay the ransom within 100 hours. If you do not pay the ransom you lose all of your data,” technology expert Anthony Mongeluzo told MyFoxPhilly.

Simply ignoring the hostage takers isn’t an option, Mongeluzo said. If the computer has photos or files that are needed, the Crypto Locker Virus puts a lock on them that can only be opened when the ransom is paid.

“The way they’re accepting payments is bitcoin, a new form of cash that’s been making headway on the Internet. It’s used for lot of illegal activities.” Mongeluzo said.

The Crypto Virus struck news station ABC 33-40 in Birmingham, Alabama, leaving the station director with little choice but to pay the ransom.

“You buy this $300 Green Dot MoneyPak, you cannot use a credit card for it, it had to be cash or debit card. Once they claim the funds, they unlock your files. If those files had been lost, it could’ve affected 10 years’ worth of work by several departments,” said Ron Thomas.

Computer experts say there could be one way around the virus. There are already copycats to the Crypto Locker Virus that demand money but don’t actually lock the computer down. Taking an infected computer to an expert can determine if this is the case.

But there are some ways to prevent the Crypto Locker Virus from taking hold, they note. Experts recommend that you never open an email from an unknown source, and back up all important files.

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12 Responses to “Crypto Locker Virus Locks Down Critical Files, Demands Ransom”

  1. Anonymous

    That is why i use Kaspersky THE BEST. and i store everything on a 3TB external hard drive and a 1TB external hard drive and a 500GB hard drive and leave them unplugged. only using the 3TB beings its only half full. i never store things on my computer itself just in case.

  2. Jan McNair

    I got hit with the IRS virus,same deal,pay up or wipe out files. Fortunately I don't store anything but pictures(backed up)I did not pay the ransom,but took the lap top to a very trusted repair shop and had it cleaned top to bottom for only $95 instead of $450 ransom..And they left the virus remover installed in my PC so I'm good in the future-I hope!!
    PLEASE back up your files and do NOT pay.As long as they are receiving money they won't stop.

  3. Steve Wilson

    i have apple virus never can get in my system sucks to have windows i had windows for years virues after virues not anymore apples are virues free.

  4. Anonymous

    Sorry to break your bubble but APPLES do get viruses! You should really look into that,It has been in the news in the past.

  5. Christopher Powell

    Apple devices, or devices that use iOS, have had viruses for many years. Apple users usually don't know this because they're too embarrassed to tell anyone that Apple products are normal devices that are priced higher because of the brand name. Surprise!

  6. Christopher Powell

    This article is staggeringly stupid. It's reporting a PC-based email virus as "one of the strongest and most devastating in history".

    That's the equivalent of making a news story stating that traffic in Boston is worse soon before Red Sox games and calling it a crime against humanity.

    I realize Fox News makes its own news and spins it to be as terrifying as possible, but to say this is any worse than your average malware is psychotic. This is what they *all* do. And it's downright damaging to say that if you pay it, the other guys will fix it for you.

    Uh, no. No they won't. You've already sent them the money. They have no reason to have any contact with you. The deal is done: They scammed you, you were so dumb you fell for it, and if you really are that crazy, you probably never knew that a "dangerous virus" is something that, at the very least, roots itself into the infrastructure of a corporation that contains personal user data that is meant to be secure. Those are dangerous. An email virus that's fundamentally identical to every other one ever written is not dangerous. It's a nuisance for the illiterate, and a payday for even high school students with some IT knowledge to make a lot of money very fast doing the same things everyone does to remove malware. Which is something that could be followed in maybe a 10-step guide in a Google search.

    I work in data security in the medical field, so to see this sort of thing reported as news makes my heart ache for the future of mankind. Since I respond to tech questions every day, I'd be glad to solve this "devastating" problem in under 15 minutes for them using the same techniques that have always been used to get rid of this stupid code.

    Everyone, I'm pleading with you, ignore every single word in this article. All of it. Its advice is damaging and its description of an everyday occurrence is encouraging delusional beliefs. Don't let yourself turn into that sort of monster.

  7. Christopher Powell

    You don't even need antivirus software anymore if you're a safe browser, so I don't know what you're going on about. I don't use antivirus software and I haven't had a virus in over five years. And I own three computers.

    Kaspersky is worthless unless you're browsing on sites that are intended to infect the living hell out of your system, anyway. In which case, you deserve it, so why bother? I run a spyware scan once in a while, and about all I get are tracking cookies, which technically aren't even damaging.

    It's cool knowing computers. Then you can stop running useless software like Kaspersky. Or any antivirus, really, so long as you know what to not click on.

  8. Tony Brown

    Christopher Powell Yeah, I've used Macs for 10+ years and I've never encountered a single virus (and the ones that are out there require far more user interaction than most Windows based viruses/malware/ransomware)… can't say the same for my work-provided Windows based computer.

    And iOS devices, UNLESS JAILBROKEN, generally can't be affected by malware or viruses.

  9. Tony Brown

    Well, lets see… program is sent disguised (using security problems that have existed in Windows since, what, XP? 98?), unsuspecting user runs it, program encrypts certain file types with RSA-2048 encryption, and threatens to delete the private key than be used to un-encrypt those files if you don't pay up within a set amount of time…

    How exactly is this not "devastating"? With the exception of some copy-cat programs that look like it but don't function like it, this thing does exactly what it says its going to do — destroys access to your files if you attempt to remove it or if you don't pay the ransom.

  10. Richard Brodie

    Concerning the Cryptolock ransomeware: I would like to see every resource of the Federal Government deployed to destroy these Nigerian internet terrorist vermin. They have invaded the United States using means more effective and far reaching than troops on the ground. Every one of our citizens is potentially at risk. THIS IS WAR! Our own troops on the ground should invade Nigeria with the objective of totally exterminating these malicious insects. If necessary wipe the whole miserable country off the map, Hiroshima style.

  11. Trish Appolonia

    this is a different virus, there is no cure yet,, its not like the fbi saying the same thing, pay up
    believe me I go this and can not recover my files

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